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Sweden's Zetterberg out of Olympics

Back injury forces Red Wings' captain to return to Detroit

Friday, 02.14.2014 / 9:42 AM / News
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Sweden\'s Zetterberg out of Olympics
Sweden captain Henrik Zetterberg is out for the rest of the 2014 Sochi Olympics because of injury.
Henrik Zetterberg takesa draw against Tomas Plekanec in Sweden's 4-2 tournament-opening win over Czech Republic on Wednesday. (Photo by Getty Images)

SOCHI -- Sweden captain Henrik Zetterberg is out for the rest of the 2014 Sochi Olympics because of injury, the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation announced Friday.

Zetterberg, who has a herniated disk, missed 13 games for the Red Wings during the NHL season.

Zetterberg had a goal and won seven of 16 faceoffs in 18:14 of ice time Wednesday in Sweden’s 4-2 Olympic-opening win against the Czech Republic. He did not practice Thursday in order to receive treatment.

"In this situation it was no tough decision as this was no borderline case," Sweden team doctor Bjorn Waldeback said Friday. "For people who know medicine it is obvious that this couldn't continue.

"(Henrik) has been in touch with the Detroit medical staff. I have been in touch with the NHL doctors who are here. They totally agree with us. When you suffer from a herniated disk the way he does, you need to go home for a medical evaluation."

Waldeback, speaking to the Olympic News Service, said there was no specific contact in the game Wednesday to cause a new onset of back pain.

Sweden defeated Switzerland, 1-0, on Friday.

"In fairness to Sweden, the Red Wings and himself, he made the right decision to pull out of the Olympics," Detroit general manager Ken Holland, on hand in Sochi, told the Detroit Free Press.

Holland said Zetterberg will not be available to play for the Red Wings when the NHL resumes after the Olympic break.

"He's going to be down for a period of time," Holland said.

It is unclear when Zetterberg will return to the United States. According to Waldeback, Zetterberg is in a great deal of pain. Holland said he expects Zetterberg to leave here in the next day or two.

Sweden is now missing two of its top three centers; Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks did not come to the Olympics because of a rib injury.

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom likely will be the No. 1 center, with Patrik Berglund of the St. Louis Blues possibly moving into the top six forwards.

Zetterberg cannot be replaced on the roster. According to International Ice Hockey Federation rules, rosters for the 12 Olympic teams were locked when the opening game of the tournament started. Sweden will continue with 24 players.

"Of course it's nothing one wishes for, but we have to see the possibilities and look forward," Sweden coach Per Marts told the ONS. "Perhaps it's good with some hardship in the beginning so that we maybe won't get it later. It is nothing we can do about it and I don't feel like we could've done anything differently."

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall, a teammate of Zetterberg with the Red Wings, reportedly has been named captain of Sweden for the remainder of the tournament.


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